Ze Cheese!

Ze Cheese!


A few weeks ago I raved about the Jean-Louis Cheese from Bobolink Dairy but didn’t get to take pictures. For my grand joy, I reconnected with Jonathan White, cheese maker and owner of Bobolink Dairy at the D’Artagnan Duckathlon. Jonathan was leading the cheese challenge; the contestants had to rank the cheeses by age, and for that he brought a selection of  Baudolinos:
“The “Brie of Barbarossa”, this soft-ripened wheel celebrates the pasture. Strong, fruity, and yeasty, this cheese is profoundly satisfying”.

Oh! yeah! all true and more.  I did make several trips to the cheese station, and my reward was to take home of piece of Jean-Louis, which is their star cheese named in memory of chef Jean-Louis Palladin & made from New Jersey raw cow milk . We shared it with our friend  Peter Cockelbergh, a writer, scholar and gourmand from Belgium who was blown away. I am telling you again, you can & should try it too! For a list of farmers markets and online sales for Bobolink click here. Jean-Louis Palladin couldn’t have hoped for a better homage; who cares about having a street, a park or a building named  after yourself, but cheese of that dimension? That is pungent!

Turmeric Synchronicity: The Case of the Antioxidant Curcumin

Turmeric Synchronicity: The Case of the Antioxidant Curcumin

Two of my most recent posts were about turmeric (curcuma) and today this piece was posted on the ASFS List server (Association for the Study of Food and Society) by Cara de Silva via Dana Jacobi. A very scientific article on the source of turmeric’s healing power finally uncovered in U Mich lab (American Chemical Society).

Determining the Effects of Lipophilic Drugs on Membrane Structure by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy: The Case of the Antioxidant Curcumin

Jeffrey Barry, Michelle Fritz, Jeffrey R. Brender, Pieter E. S. Smith, Dong-Kuk Lee and Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy*
Biophysics and Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1055

Click here full article


Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric powder, a natural spice used for generations in traditional medicines. Curcumin’s broad spectrum of antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties makes it particularly interesting for the development of pharmaceutical compounds. Because of curcumin’s various effects on the function of numerous unrelated membrane proteins, it has been suggested that it affects the properties of the bilayer itself. However, a detailed atomic-level study of the interaction of curcumin with membranes has not been attempted. A combination of solid-state NMR and differential scanning calorimetry experiments shows curcumin has a strong effect on membrane structure at low concentrations. Curcumin inserts deep into the membrane in a transbilayer orientation, anchored by hydrogen bonding to the phosphate group of lipids in a manner analogous to cholesterol. Like cholesterol, curcumin induces segmental ordering in the membrane. Analysis of the concentration dependence of the order parameter profile derived from NMR results suggests curcumin forms higher order oligomeric structures in the membrane that span and likely thin the bilayer. Curcumin promotes the formation of the highly curved inverted hexagonal phase, which may influence exocytotic and membrane fusion processes within the cell. The experiments outlined here show promise for understanding the action of other drugs such as capsaicin in which drug-induced alterations of membrane structure have strong pharmacological effects.

J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131 (12), pp 4490–4498
DOI: 10.1021/ja809217u
Publication Date (Web): March 3, 2009

Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society

Encore about crêpes.

Encore about crêpes.

Speaking of crêpes I wanted to let you know about:

please excuse the low resolution video of the opening of the live show:

The Crêpe, the Theorist, the Chef and the Volunteer
An audience participation staged multimedia performance
Belle Gironda & Nicole Peyrafitte (moi!)

Probably the first performance ever addressing the live practice of literary theory & cooking. The show was premiered at Brown University for the conference DAC 2001.
Visit the website for description and more; it is really worth a detour -from the french expression : vaut le détour !)

Belle Gironda and I are now taking bookings for 2010. This is a very cost efficient performance as we also feed the audience…well that depends on how good the volunteers are!

Le Pot au Feu

Le Pot au Feu

Pot au Feu

Originally Pot au Feu meant an earthenware or a metal cooking pot. Today, it is a common French dish and to me the ultimate winter comfort food. It is very easy to prepare and economical, low cost cuts can be used. It can be prepared in 15 minutes, then simmers all afternoon long filling the house with a marvelous aroma. Several cuts of meat can be used but preferably cartilaginous cuts such as oxtail and marrowbone (I got a beautiful beef shank marbled with cartilage). My mother always combines veal & beef cuts.
Equivalent dishes are: the New England boiled dinner, consisting of corned beef or a ham shoulder, & the Irish corn beef and cabbage.
There are many variations and they are all good, the only one rule is too cook it long enough. What I really like about the French version is the cleanness of the taste. Unless it is homemade, I don’t eat much corn beef, the prepared ones at the store are usually too salty, full of m.s.g and other preservatives. I have added Jerusalem Artichokes in this version, it is unusual and it was a test —the main reason being that I had some in the fridge but I didn’t have any potatoes at hand. No regrets! It added a subtle layer of flavor, I will do it again!
I was curious to price my Pot of Feu –which lasted for three meals. I did the shopping at the Park Slope Food Coop.

1 (1.42lb) Grass fed Beef Shank bone $6.13
3 small organic carrots carrots $0.55
1 organic turnip $0.31
2 organic leeks $1.37
3 Jerusalem Artichokes $1.85
Total $10.23

already in my pantry:
3 ribs of Celery
1 Onion
3 cloves ( stick them onto the peeled onion)
4 peppers grains
1 teaspon of corse sea salt
Whole grain mustard (moutarde à l’ancienne)
Gherkins (cornichons)

pot au feu

Put the meat, the vegetables (except the potatoes &/or the Jerusalem artichoke) & the spices into the pot and cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours. The meat as to be really tender. 1/2 hour before the end of the cooking add the potatoes and/or the Jerusalem artichokes.

bouillon de pot au feu

Strain the broth onto a soup tureen and have the soup as a first course. If you wish you can add vermicelli or small pasta onto the broth.


Don’t forget to eat the marrow! blow out the marrow from the bone onto a piece of bread, sprinkle with sea salt. YUMMY!

Serve meat, veggies & condiments & Bon Appetit!

[ Pierre’s addendum: & don’t forget to tell your readers that when you have slurped your way through the soup & there is just a little left at the bottom of your plate, you add a good rasade — shot — of red wine, mix it with the soup, put down your spoon, raise the plate with two hands & slurp the mixture down with audible slurping satisfaction noises. It’s called “faire chabrot” which means etymologically “to drink like a goat.” It’s a total pleasure.]

End of December & End of Year 2008

End of December & End of Year 2008

To end this year here is “December,” a drawing/collage from my Calendar series with a poem by Nicole Brossard. This song will be part of my new CD to be released in spring 2009:

“Whisk, don’t Churn!”
A Live Recording
Nicole Peyrafitte with Michael Bisio

Remember, if you are in NYC on New Year’s Day do come to see us at the St Mark’s Poetry Poetry Project 35th Annual New Year’s Day Poetry Marathon. Pierre Joris, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte & myself –and about an other 140 poets, musicians & dancers– will perform from 2pm into the euphoric early morning. We are scheduled to appear in the early afternoon (between 2 & 3PM) and I also will be flipping crepes in the Parish Hall until I run out of my gallon of bater. Voilà for now! & Thank you for reading my blog and some of you since I have started back in March. The readership is seriously increasing but I would love to get more feed back.
Until next post: Bona Anada, Bonne Année, Happy New Year!